When we asked Oriol Balaguer of Estudi di Xocolatta i Pastisseria for a contribution to the SAVEUR 100, he picked something straightforward: pencil and paper. “Before I start to create, I always sketch my inspiration,” he told us, and he’s not the only one: chefs Grant Achatz (of Chicago’s Alinea) and Michael Laiskonis (pastry chef at Le Bernardin in New York City) also begin their creations at the drawing board. They’ve shared with us the drawings and doodles that gave rise to some of their most famous dishes — proving that the artistry and attention to detail that’s evident in a plated dish has actually been with it since its inception. With these sketches — as well as photos of the final products — we get a glimpse into the creative process of two of the world’s most innovative chefs.

See all the sketches (and final products) in our photo gallery »